Armed raid as gun fears rise

QUICK-thinking shop staff who foiled an armed raider's attempts to rob them as he wielded a handgun, were recovering at home today.The attempted raid took place at McColl's Liquor Store in Ellenbrook Green, Ipswich at 7.

QUICK-thinking shop staff who foiled an armed raider's attempts to rob them as he wielded a handgun, were recovering at home today.

The attempted raid took place at McColl's Liquor Store in Ellenbrook Green, Ipswich at 7.50pm yesterday.

The foiled raid is the latest in a string of incidents to target small businesses in Ipswich – and the eighth in Suffolk in 16 days. The firearms incident also came as a report by MPs was today expected to call for a ban on the sale and importation of replica firearms.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said the members of staff on duty hit the panic button behind the counter as soon as they realised the seriousness of the situation.


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He said: "A man entered the shop, produced a handgun and demanded some money. The staff refused and immediately activated the panic button and the offender left the shop empty handed."

He added: "The man produced the gun and pointed it at the female shop assistant, who has been left very shocked by the incident."

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Today the deputy manager of the store - which combines McColl's newsagent, The Liquor Store and Belstead post office and has cctv cameras - said nobody had been injured.

She declined to be named and said she had been told by bosses not to talk about the incident. A spokesman at McColl's head office in Brentwood was unavailable for comment today.

A resident of Bridgwater Road near the shop, who asked not to be named, said McColl's had shut early yesterday and he had seen a police helicopter circling the area in the evening.

Police were unable to say whether the crime was being linked to other recent raids, as the Star went to press. They described the man as white, 6ft to 6ft 2ins tall, of medium build and aged between 30 and 40. He had spiky, cropped hair and wore a cream coloured jumper and a yellow scarf across his face.

As detective sergeant Jed Carlon led the investigation in Ipswich today, Pubwatch chairman Michael Collins warned all local businesses to beware of raiders. He said: "I do advise all businesses in Ipswich, to watch out for people standing around on corners, watching your movements. I think everyone should be on their guard at this time of year."

The all-party Parliamentary Group on Gun Crime was issuing its final report about firearms today, after a summer dominated by high-profile shootings.

Figures released by the Home Office last month showed gun crime in Britain has doubled since Labour came to power.

MPs were also expected to say more police should be armed to cope with increasing gun crime - there were a record 10,250 offences in the year to March.

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Anyone with any information about last night's raid should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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